The PDC show rolls into Minehead this week to add a bit of glamour to Butlins! The £250,000 tournament is the reward for the 32 top performing players from the low key PDC Pro Tour events, with £60k going to the eventual winner.

The change of venue to a holiday camp atmosphere may be a welcome departure from the doldrums of Doncaster and its under-patronised Dome, however, before the stage has been erected or a dart thrown in anger we have one very unhappy camper; Phil Taylor.

Player Championship Butlins

Morning Campers!

Why? Well since reclaiming the Premier League Darts title back in May The Power has only managed to add the World Matchplay and the (internet streamed) Championship League Darts trophies to his cabinet.

A nice haul by anyone else’s standard, but who would have bet on the Grand Slam, European Championship, World Grand Prix and UK Open all eluding the face of PDC darts in 2012?

As a habitual winner, Taylor more than most just does not like losing. Is he a bad loser? Probably, but certainly not the worst. What ever you think about him you can lump on him at 10/3 if you think there is life in the old dog yet.

The fact is the standard of the chasing pack has improved, and there are a handful of players with a genuine belief that they can overcome Taylor under pressure in a match situation and chuck a 100+ average back at him.

Leading the charge is Michael van Gerwen, having already eliminated Taylor from this years Grand Slam at the last 16 stage and edged a close contest 6-5 at Barnsley in the Players Championship 20 final, he also features in Taylor’s half of the draw at Minehead.

A quarter final meeting of the pair would be subject to Phil first getting past Mark Webster, then a potential second round game with Adrian Lewis, whilst van Gerwen has to negotiate defending champion Kevin Painter in the first round in a match which he understandably starts as favourite.

The 23 year old Dutchman is the golden boy of PDC darts right now; animated, aggressive and fast becoming a fans favourite. He and the likes of Dave Chisnall, Simon Whitlock and a rejuvenated Raymond van Barneveld are ones to watch in this event and between them make up the top 4 seeding.

Chisnall enters the fray as first seed which affords him the relative luxury of facing the No. 32 seed Wayne Jones. The Wanderer has had a torid couple of years with many a first round exit from floor events.

That said he is no mug and has earned (scraped?) his Finals place, the race to 6 legs suits his game so Chisnall must not take his eye off the ball. A close head to head record suggests an on song Jones could upset the top seed’s plan for glory in what is arguably the desirable half of a bottom heavy draw.

Whitlock (2) and van Barneveld (4) take on Jamie Caven and Steve Beaton respectively, Jabba  hit some form during the Championship League darts but hasn’t demonstrated any real consistency so far this year and Beaton has failed to topple Barney on all but one occasion in 8 attempts. Therefore it’s difficult to see these matches going against the form guide.

A stand out first round fixture is Wes Newton versus Gary Anderson, the Scotsman was seeded second behind Justin pipe in last years competition and whitewashed the then 31st seed van Gerwen in the first round! The fact he turns up to Butlins 24 places lower this year is indicative of recent turbulant times both on and off the oche for the Scotsman.

PDC DartsThe Players Championship Order of Merit though does not reveal the whole story;  Anderson has won 5 of their last 7 meetings over the last 18 months. Matches between this pair are generally close so don’t be suprised to see this one go to a last leg shootout with 2011s semi-finalist Wes just nicking it.

Casting an eye over the other first round games; Ian White has as good a chance of any of his fellow top half counterparts, assuming of course  he gets past youngster Michael Smith in the opening game of the tournament on Friday afternoon.

When Justin Pipe takes on Colin Osborne the short format could well feel more like a half marathon. The head to head battles between these slower throwers reveals Osborne has a superior record, with 4 wins from 6. Although you would have to fancy Pipe here.

James Wade will have to dig deep to get past Brendan Dolan, on paper it looks straightforward for the man with 7 major titles to his name, but recently he has gone off the boil as a consequence of his well documented health issues.

Ronnie Baxter takes on the self styled ‘Bad Boy’ of darts Paul Nicholson, as a previous winner The Asset knows what he should be doing,  Baxter though features in our all time Top 10 ratings and has won two thirds of their previous games.

The Rocket is wily old fox and won’t be phased by Nicholson’s darts or whatever other nonsense he may or may not bring to the Butlins stage, therefore we fancy him to put the Aussie Geordie to bed.

Colin Lloyd and Peter Wright take to the stage as sixteenth and seventeenth seeds respectively and we fully expect this to be mirrored by a close match scoreline. Snakebite has had little success against Jaws in the past having lost their last 6 encounters, but you just sense he might reverse that fortune here.

Looking past the usual suspects we can’t call a winner for this event, one would suspect there is each way value in the top half of the draw so you might fancy a punt on the likes of Ian White (40/1) or Kim Huybrechts (25/1). What is good to see is a wide open tournament with big names certain to go out early doors, who do you think will will prevail? Use the comment feature below and let us now!

The tournament sees a welcome return to PDC darts on terrestrial television with Alan Warriner-Little and Chris Mason providing punditry on the ITV-4 broadcasts. The action will also be streamed live on LIVEPDC.TV  to all regions except UK, Ire & Netherlands where fans may still access on-demand highlights.

Players Championship Finals Links

Draw | Players Championship 2011 Results | Players Championship Role of Honour | Players Championship Schedule of Play | Darts Head to Heads | All Time Player Ratings

Outright Betting Odds at PaddyPower.com

PDC players Championship Correct as of 26/11/12

Phil Taylor 10/3
Robert Thornton 33/1
Ronnie Baxter 125/1
Michael van Gerwen 9/2
Justin Pipe 35/1
Mark Walsh 125/1
Dave Chisnall 7/1
Terry Jenkins 40/1
Steve Beaton 125/1
Simon Whitlock 11/1
Ian White 40/1
Wayne Jones 150/1
Raymond van Barneveld 12/1
Andy Hamilton 66/1
Michael Smith 150/1
James Wade 14/1
Vincent van der Voort 66/1
Richie Burnett 150/1
Adrian Lewis 18/1
Peter Wright 66/1
Jamie Caven 150/1
Kim Huybrechts 20/1
Paul Nicholson 75/1
Mark Webster 150/1
Gary Anderson 22/1
Colin Lloyd 100/1
Colin Osborne 200/1
Wes Newton 25/1
Kevin Painter 100/1
Andy Smith 250/1
Mervyn King 30/1
Brendan Dolan 100/1
Each Way Terms 1/2 places 1,2

First Round Betting & DartsMad Predictions at PaddyPower.com

Correct as of 26/11/2012

30th Nov 2012
13:00 Ian White v Michael Smith
8/15
11/8
White
13:30 Colin Lloyd v Peter Wright
5/6
5/6
Wright
14:00 Justin Pipe v Colin Osborne
1/2
6/4
Pipe
14:30 Kim Huybrechts v Vincent van der Voort
1/2
6/4
Huybrechts
15:00 Robert Thornton v Mark Walsh
4/9
13/8
Thornton
15:30 Terry Jenkins v Mervyn King
evens
8/11
King
16:00 Ronnie Baxter v Paul Nicholson
11/10
4/6
Baxter
16:30 Andy Hamilton v Andy Smith
4/11
15/8
Hamilton
19:00 Dave Chisnall v Wayne Jones
3/10
9/4
Chisnall
19:30 James Wade v Brendan Dolan
1/2
6/4
Dolan
20:00 Adrian Lewis v Richie Burnett
1/3
2/1
Lewis
20:30 Michael van Gerwen v Kevin Painter
1/4
5/2
MvG
21:00 Raymond van Barneveld v Steve Beaton
4/11
15/8
RvB
21:30 Phil Taylor v Mark Webster
1/6
7/2
Taylor
22:00 Wes Newton v Gary Anderson
evens
8/11
Newton
22:30 Simon Whitlock v Jamie Caven
2/7
12/5
 Whitlock

 

 

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